A Couple of Sharpmaker 204 Sharpening Tips

May 5, 2000
Everyone's been clamoring for coarse sharpening rods for their Sharpmakers. Some of us know that the right kind of sandpaper (specifically, rough silicon carbide) can do the trick, but this usually involves some contortions. Here's my solution:


It's all in the small binder clips and how you position them. A closeup:


For those of you without the intensive mechanical training necessary to implement this 100-grit solution, I will put together a custom Sharpmaker Extension Kit for a mere $19.95. Act now...

One other observation: I was sharpening a particularly cheap knife earlier (a Good Grips paring knife) and I had absolutely no luck getting the edges to meet. I was working at 30 degrees, as I do with all my kitchen knives, so I tried an experiment. I kept the backbevel at 30 and ground the primary edge to 40--something I might do with a regular pocket knife. It worked perfectly. Perhaps (much) cheaper steels can't even be brought to a 30-degree edge, much less made to maintain one.

Act now! Buy your Sharpmaker Extension Kit in the next five minutes and I'll throw in an amazing Good Grips paring knife!!! :barf:

I'll take two! Let me know when you figure out the even more difficult 'extra fine' solution. :)
I cut angles in a piece of wood which match
the angles on a shapmaker. Then just lay a
course or extra fine benchstone against the
wood for the desired angle. Cheap pricing
available. Link is for a pic. ;)

Roguesoul, I like yours, but mine does recurved blades as well. Which reminds me...the price just went up!
Shmackey, Good point. I use the corner for a Boa recurve and I think it works real well. Either sharpener will definitely do the trick.

Nicely done. Send me one. I just got some bench stones and that's the perfect solution. ;)

Maybe these will help hold us over until the diamond sleeves are available again for the 204. I have heard you can lean a diamond stone or rod against the sharpmaker and use it that way. I have never tried this.
Good idea! I tried the diamond hone thing. I had a couple of the keychain sized ones (gatco, maybe?) that were flat plates about 1" by 3". I could lay it on the sharpmaker stone but it was a pain to keep on there. It would "scoot" out a little and slightly change my angle. dangit. I'll try the sandpaper thing.

How quickly does the sandpaper get worn out?

Hea Shmackey,

I like your invention, just the way I like 'em, nice and simple. Your other tip about sharpening the kitchen knife really worked for me. I have an old kitchen knife that I never was able to get sharp. I tried doing the 30 degree and then 40 degree as suggested in the great Spydie video that came with my 204 and nothing seemed to work. I just tried your solution and that baby is finally flying thru tomatos. Thanks much! -Rick
Rick, welcome to the forums.

Regarding the sandpaper wearing out: It does wear out fairly quickly, depending on all the usual factors (including the quality of the sandpaper). The nice thing is that you can just take off the clips, move the sandpaper over two inches, and re-clip. Back in business in about 10 seconds.
Not bad at all Shmackey. I´ve been using something like this for some time :)
Take care!
A few newbie questions... :)

To go only one step coarser than the 204's brown/gray stones, which grit of sandpaper should I get? I saw 100 grit silicon carbide mentioned in the by Schmackey. Is this more than one step coarser? Is there a specific brand that's best?

For a super-dull blade or to reprofile a blade faster, how many strokes should it take on each side of the blade to be ready for the 204's brown/gray stones? How much pressure should I use?

I know I should read Juranitch's book, and I plan to (I don't plan to practice with any "good" knives to start off). But if there are some easy-as-the-Sharpmaker-is answers, please share your suggestions. Thanks!

Good questions, Johnny.

100 grit is definitely more than one step coarser. I'd say four steps. I consider the grey rods to be medium in name only.
You might look at something in the 300 range if you really only want one step.

Brand doesn't matter, but my understanding is that silicon carbide is the way to go because of the particle hardness. Might not matter, but it's easy to get, so might as well.

You don't need to use much pressure at all; doing so will probably just rip the grit from the paper. This is very agressive stuff. Interestingly, I've found reprofiling better when using the flats with sandpaper; the corners tend to wear the grit out very fast, whereas the flats, with so much more silicon carbide, last way longer and are plenty aggressive.

You might consider using the magic-marker trick. Color up the bevel, let it dry, and reprofile until you can see that you've got it off. Otherwise, you can probably just see when the scratches are all the way to the edge.
That works well.

Another thing I've done to give me a litle play in the angles for sharpening is to mount a 1x3 on to a 2x8 with a screen door hinge on one end of the 1x3 and a 3/8 in. hole drilled through the opposite end. I put a 6 in. carriage bolt through the hole with bolt head down and a nut and large washer underneath the 1x3 so when you screw the nut up or down it raises or lowers the angle of the 1x3. I bought a cheap plastic angle measure and can set the board for whatever angle. I set the Sharpmaker on top of the board (moveable 1x3) and the higher of the 2 ceramic sticks will be that many degrees less than the store bought angle of the Sharpmaker and the lower ceramic wil be that many degrees more. Sharpen the blade using only of the sticks and turn the contraption aroung to sharpen the other side of the blade.
Maybe everbody does this already, I dont know. I think it cost me a total of $3 to make as I had all the other stuff lying around.
I tried this last night. I have a 440V Native that I just couldn't seem to put a sharp edge on - it seemed like the Sharpmaker was just polishing the edge, if that makes sense. So I tried 320 grit and 180 grit SiC paper, and wow! It shaves again!

Now if I could just figure out how to tell when I've raised a burr :rolleyes:

Thanks Shmackey!